Intel, in collaboration with CBSE, Ministry of Education, recently launched the AI For All initiative with the purpose of creating a basic understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) for everyone in India.
Based on Intel’s AI For Citizens programme, AI For All is a four-hour, self-paced learning programme that aims to demystify AI in an inclusive manner. The initiative is said to be as applicable to a student, a stay-at-home parent as it is to a professional in any field or even a senior citizen. The programme aims to introduce AI to one million citizens in its first year. Under AI for All, 58,538 course badges have been downloaded till now.
BusinessLine spoke to Shweta Khurana, Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Government Partnerships & Initiatives, Global Government Affairs, Intel, about the company’s vision behind this initiative.
Why do you think there is a need to teach people from all age groups about AI, even the ones who are getting out of the workforce?
Today, every single country is using artificial intelligence from a very strategic imperative. They want to grow on artificial intelligence because they know it directly impacts their economy, AI capabilities can help add billions to the economy and millions to the job market.
But at the end of the day, what we have realised at Intel is that the AI skill crisis has to be recognised as the biggest global barrier for wider adoption of artificial intelligence. When you want to use AI to transform an economy, specifically a country like India, success is completely dependent on public knowledge and trust.
With our AI for All initiative, we want to make the general public aware of the AI applications that they are interfacing with, and the thought process behind these technologies. The real thought about making AI learning available for everybody, whether they are part of the workforce or not, is how do we really democratise AI skills for everyone.
How do you ensure that people are able to grasp the concepts of AI in the short four-hour course? Please elaborate on the curriculum design as well.
We wanted to keep it very simple and inclusive. It has to be as accessible for my grandmother as it is for a stockbroker, because all of us interact with AI in our day-to-day life. This is also the reason why we have made the course available in 11 languages in India.
So, we have divided the whole course into two modules. The first module is called AI Awareness, which focuses on the elementary understanding of artificial intelligence, and covers basic topics like what is the difference between human intelligence and artificial intelligence, misconceptions, and applications of AI, and so on.
The second module is on AI Appreciation. So once you have understood what AI can do and what its potential is, the second module focuses on different domains of AI, for instance, the difference between computer vision and natural language processing and more. Not every learner of this course will become a software developer or choose a profession related to AI but if they want to know more, we help them build their own learning plans.
How long did it take to develop the AI for All course in 11 languages and how much investment went into it?
This course is part of our CSR initiatives out of India and there are other programmes as well clubbed under the same CSR outlay, so I will not be able to give you a definite figure here. But in terms of time, it took us almost six months to get the course up and running, and not just the language part of it. We also did test trials with different segments of people to ensure that the course is relatable to their understanding before we developed it at a massive scale.
For instance, the course is compatible with talkback applications, making it accessible to visually impaired people. There is also a new version of the course, which we are going to release shortly to help the hearing impaired people relate with the course in a different way.
How do you go about making the course engaging for the audience of all age groups?
At the very onset, we decided that we don’t want linear video lessons and we want something that is interactive. So it’s a combination of video and interactive quizzes, to make sure that the learner is not just going through a PDF or seeing a video. Learners also get a badge at the end of each module, provided they answer all the quiz questions to a certain extent.